The Delhi high court on Friday asked the Election Commission (EC) to give complete details of registration of the Aam Aadmi Party with it. A bench of acting chief justice B D Ahmed and Justice S Mridul directed the EC to file an affidavit indicating the factual position of AAP's registration.
Aam Aadmi Party logo, AAP
The poll panel will have to state in its affidavit whether it acted in accordance with law while registering the party. "Counsel for the respondent (EC) to file an affidavit indicating the factual position behind registration of AAP," the bench said, adding "Give us a short affidavit taking a stand that you acted in accordance with law". The court listed the matter for further hearing on May 8.
The order came while hearing a plea by Hans Raj Jain, who has alleged that provisions of State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act has been violated by AAP as its registration application contained the 'chakra' logo as depicted in the national flag. He has also challenged AAP's registration alleging that it used forged documents to register itself with the poll body.
The court, meanwhile, suggested to Jain that if he feels that there has been a violation of law by AAP, then he should seek sanction from the Central Government to lodge a complaint against the party. During the proceedings, EC said that it had received complaints against the registration of AAP and it had written to the party which had said that it will not be using the 'chakra' as an emblem/symbol.
It also said that the Act does not apply in this case as under the statute, the a national emblem cannot be used "for the purpose of any trade, business, calling or profession...." and a political party is more like a "social organisation". It also contended that it is not the competent authority to enforce the provisions of the Act, in case of violation. Under the Act, penalty for using national emblem for wrongful gain is imprisonment for upto two years or fine which may extend to Rs. 5,000 or both.
In his plea, Jain has sought directions restraining AAP from contesting the ensuing Lok Sabha elections till final disposal of the case. Jain alleged that "registration of AAP was allowed (by the EC) in a hurried manner on the basis of false and fabricated documents without making any proper enquiries". He claimed that there were discrepancies in residential addresses given by some AAP members in their affidavits when compared to the addresses given in their voter identity cards or income tax returns.
He said provisions of State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper Use) Act have been violated by AAP as its registration application contained the 'chakra' logo as depicted in the national flag. A probe by a Special Investigation Team has been sought by him into the alleged forgery and fabrication of documents by AAP while registering itself with the EC as a political party. Jain sought initiation of disciplinary action against EC officials for allegedly failing to verify documents submitted by AAP members.